Monday, 29 August 2011

Pat and Mike (1952)

After screaming in capital letters the other day about seeing more Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movies, my Mum and I sat down at the computer to look for some films to cover the rest of our holiday. We found some great ones, including a set of four Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy films - Pat and Mike, Keeper Of The Flame, Adam's Rib (a repeat, but oh well!), and Woman of The Year. YAYAYAYAYYAYAY! We put on Pat and Mike as soon as it came and were not disappointed. This was Katharine Hepburn's favourite of the nine she made with Spencer Tracy.

Pat and Mike (1952) directed by George Cukor and Written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin


Pat Pemberton is a happy physical education teacher (and a very talented one at that). She is also in a generally happy engagement with Collier Weld, so you might say that she was a very lucky girl! But there is one particular thing that is always getting at her. Everytime she is playing a sport and her fiancee is there looking domineeringly at her, she can't do well at all.

She has to make a quick change from her pants {"These aren't pants they're slacks! Watch your language!"} because their golfing partners are "very conservative'.

One day, she and he play a game of business/pleasure golf and he really wants her to do well, but he gives her *insert DUN DUN DUN* The Look, and she can't do well at all. After the game the wife of Collier's business associate is screaming to Katharine Hepburn that she has to practice more and "TENSE! TENSE!", before she takes a shot and eventually she can't take it anymore and goes up to a row of golf balls and hits them all beautifully. They all go :-0... And she storms into the clubhouse for a drink.

The leader of the club says that she should definitely enter the Women's Gold Championship and he will help her start training. She is nearly acing the championship when she glances at her fiancee and he gives her The Look. He wants them to get married and for her to give up and forget about the whole endeavour. But she wont give up that easily and she stays while he goes back to California and she hires the kind-of-gangster sports promoter and manager, Mike Conovan.

They get along really well and he is shocked and amazed by her fantastic sports ability at not only golf, but tennis and every other sport she wants to try. They are, however faced with all the usual dificulties of sports-person fame.

Tired muscles, being worn out, and the looming prospect of Mike's "investors" and their intentions for Pat cheating so they can win bets. But non of them are as complicated as their own relationship with each other and Pat's fiancee...
The Verdict:

I honestly want to live in a Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movie (well, at least the happy ones :-D) and this one is so amazingly super cool that it deserves multiple crazy rambles. It wasn't as serious as Woman of The Year which I completely adored, but it does have some very interesting and important key features. And, as a side note, I wish Katharine Hepburn had been my PE teacher :'-(. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

First of all, the writing is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon work so well together. Together they wrote the screenplay for both this and Adam's Rib and he alone wrote the play Born Yesterday (I might have to give the film a re-watch) and Funny Girl. That is pretty impressive and there are just so many great ideas and lines in this film, especially when Pat looks at a picture of her fiancee and his head becomes Mike's, and then when Mike is saying goodnight to his horse, the horse's head becomes Pat's! :-D

A very young Charles Bronson!

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are both completely fantastic, and I am so glad to be watching more Spencer Tracy. He is just too awesome (I tried looking for his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Ingrid Bergman, but alas! It was nowhere to be seen :'-S). But I think that in this case, the starring role is  Katharine Hepburn's. I read that she did all her own sports in Pat and Mike (:-0) and may I say that almost the best parts of the film were when she was thrashing professional male tennis players, or beating Babe Zaharias at golf. But the best two parts (tied for first place) were when she saved Spencer Tracy from a fate worse than death by grabbing Charles Bronson by the ankles and throwing away another gangster's glasses - and when her fiancee is being hideous to her and she calls out "MIKE! MIKE! MIKE! HELP!" and hides under the covers of her bed and Spencer Tracy tries to do to her fiancee what she did to Charles Bronson and fails epically. LOL!

No, but seriously, she is so good at all those sports! I had read that she was very athletic before and all that, but this is pretty super cool. And when she tells her fiancee that every time he gives her "that look" she loses her flow and he asks her "what look?", and she starts doing a really funny impersonation, I laughed so much!

And Spencer Tracy's kind-of-gangster accent deserves a paragraph of it's own. It's so funny. One minute he sounds like Spencer Tracy and the next he sounds like James Cagney. And it is also pretty epically funny when he goes out training with her and his other contracted sportsman, they are jogging and Spencer Tracy is always about three paces behind on a bicycle!

I really can't chose which is my favourite film from the duo that I've seen (Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Adam's Rib, Woman Of The Year and Pat and Mike) and The State Of The Union seemed pretty grim. In fact, I turned it off after fifteen minutes because Angela Lansbury and Spencer Tracy were cheating on Katharine Hepburn and Kate and Spencer Tracy had two children! It just didn't seem right! No-no-no-no-no-no, definitely, NO!

Anyhow, this one probably ranks pretty high! It was great fun, and had a great script. Not to mention two great leading actors :-)



Caftan Woman said...

It took years for "Pat and Mike" to grow on me, but now I light up when I know it's coming on.

Your adventures in Tracy/Hepburn land are convincing me to revise my usual schedule of waiting until the leaves turn before watching "Desk Set".

Meredith said...

Pat and Mike is one of my favorite Tracy/Hepburn films. Woman of the Year and Desk Set are great, too.

Craig Wingard said...

Thanks for the great post. I own this DVD, but I still have never sat down to watch it. After reading this... I think the time has come.

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